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Cyber-criminals develop search engines that return malicious links

According to security firm PandaLabs' recent report, with cyber-criminals becoming increasingly advanced, hackers are taking advantage of people's popular use of search engines in attempts to divert them onto malicious websites. Reimage.com reported this on August 1, 2009.

Experts at the firm noted that hackers, during the past, employed malevolent 'Blackhat SEO' or Search Engine Optimization techniques to raise their web-pages higher among the results on major search engines. However, according to Panda Labs, cyber-criminals are now creating search engines of their own so that they may direct users towards rogue websites that distribute viruses.

In this connection, the company reported that a particular search engine that managed to survive had by now drawn about 195,000 users, who were potentially in danger of becoming infected.

Furthermore, Head of Sub-Saharan Operations Jeremy Matthews for PandaLabs said that when the company's researchers began searching for issues and phrases that cyber-criminals commonly exploited such as names of celebrities like Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, or the swine flu topic, they were led to pages that delivered malware. ITNewsAfrica published this on July 31, 2009.

Matthews added that surprisingly they discovered that their own names' searches too returned results, which included links to malicious pages.

According to him, there is a typical way in which the rogue search engines function. When a keyword is entered for search, the engine produces only 5-6 results, which if clicked, leads one onto pages that essentially spread malware. These pages might contain pornographic videos that direct users to take down the most recent edition of "Web media player" so that they can watch the movie. Nevertheless, the downloaded file in fact is the adware 'WebMediaPlayer.'

Matthews said that it was not just the adware, but criminals created their malicious pages to also spread bogus anti-virus software.

Thus, to protect oneself from these attacks, Panda Security suggests that people should use only reliable search engines, as also remain aware of websites that present unusual stories or sensational videos. Further, any user who might be infected with the malware would find his computer slow down suggesting that he must get it examined.

Related article: Cyber Child abuser Sentenced To Imprisonment

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